Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Award winning entrepreneur sets up national Swap Shop platform for small businesses.

Award winning entrepreneur sets up national Swap Shop platform for small businesses.

A self-made entrepreneur who set up a scheme so new Derby businesses could swapservices and share knowledge says hundreds have signed up.


And since 49-year-old Rachel Hayward launched Derby Swap Shop last year, it has grown into Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire and she the unique project has now begun roll out across the UK.

The Burton-based businesswoman, who runs her own bid-writing consultancy, reached out to new business – in particular, small women start-ups, during the corona virus pandemic so they could thrive and survive during despite it.

Rachel, who teamed up with two other successful businesses in Derby, decided the city needed a business swapping website – so they set it up.

Since its launch, swaps have ranged from financial advice for a weekend’s glamping, website development for HR input and life coaching for photo shoots.

Rachel said:

“When lockdown came, I knew so many people would be desperately worried about their businesses. I approached other successful business owners in Derby and asked them to come on board and the take up has been overwhelming.

“Since May, Derby Swap Shop has over 500 swappers and swaps have been going on all the time.”

On International Women’s Day on Monday, Rachel believes it is vital to support all small businesses, but women who are starting out in particular deserve to get the help and advice they need.

“I laid awake during lockdown worrying about my business, so I know what it feels like.There’s nothing like feeling alone and not having someone to reach out to when you need some business advice.

“The Derby Swap Shop is a platform where small business can ask for something and partner with another business who will offer up an exchange.

“If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that we need to stick together and that means local businesses too. There is a wealth of talent here in Derby, and across the region, so why not pull together and share resources?”

Rachel, who runs Ask the Chameleon, has teamed up with Dean Jackson from HUBB Design, an endurance sport apparel brand, and Gaz Jones and Lee Marples from think3, a creative agency which is responsible for designing the Derby Swap Shop platform.

The idea was inspired by the 70s children’s Saturday morning TV programme, Multi-Coloured Swap Shop – hosted by Noel Edmonds. The hit show saw young viewers swap their toys with others up and down the country.

Rachel explained:

“When you set up in business, there is so much to do. I have been running Ask the Chameleon for a few years now, and I am well established.

“I have persevered. I am strong but I can imagine how tough it has been this year for new start-ups.

“The arrival of COVID-19threw people into the eye of a perfect storm and I worried for them. I am lucky, I survived but that’s because I had been established for the best part of a decade. It’s time to lend other people a hand.”

Rachel has been named as one of the UK’s most 100 inspirational female entrepreneurs by Small Business Britain’s f:Entrepreneur #ialso100 campaign, and has won numerous awards in business.

“Right now,” said Rachel. “It’s not about me. Derby Swap Shop is how we are going to support new business, get women into business and help local start-ups. I am passionate about this.

“I’d like to see this fly. I would like to see it take off and become a national platform for business swaps.

“Running a successful business is hard work. There is no substitute for resilience, hard work and a lot of luck – but let’s be there for the newbies.”

To find out more, or to register, visit

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